Speculation Exists This Change is to Appease Chinese Gaming Regulations

Eight different cards in the popular Blizzard game ‘Hearthstone’ are looking a lot different. On July 1, Blizzard chose to change the illustrations and the reception has not been positive. Many people on Reddit have posited that the sex and violence depicted in the images has been dialed back in order to confrom with Chinese regulation.

Hearthstone Problem Screen 5

The idea that Blizzard is making these changes to compete in the Chinese market is not unprecdented. The gaming market in China is heavily censored and games in the past have been forced to make adjustments so qualify. One such example is PUBG Mobile, which got rebranded as ‘Game for Peace‘ in order to enter the Chinese market. Twitch, the popular streaming service, is another example of platofrms negatively impacted by Chinese censorship.

Blizzard is rebutting these claims. Lead mission designer Dave Kosak shared that the reason is simply the cards no longer met the standards of the company. He went so far to say that Blizzard “wouldn’t print those same cards today”.

Kosak expands, “”We went back and really just brought everything up to our standards. It wasn’t because we were looking at ratings, or international [regulations], or anything like that. We really just wanted our artists to feel good about everything in the set.”

The changes to the artowrk can be seen here.

What do you think of the new artwork? Do you believe Blizzard’s claim that it wasn’t done to conform with Chinese regulations? Let us know!